On May 8, guerrilla filmmaker Ami Horowitz, who has worked with PragerU, Fox News, The Daily Wire, and numerous other organizations, announced via Twitter that he was running for the Democratic nomination for President of the United States.
Now, you may be thinking, “Ami Horowitz isn’t a progressive.” You would be correct.
I recently had the opportunity to speak with Ami about his attempt to make the stage for the first set of Democratic debates on June 26 and 27, and potentially hold fire to the feet of the other candidates.
DW: What was the first spark of this idea to run?
AMI: The first spark was in February, when I first heard about the qualifications to get on the debate stage. I looked at it, and I was like, “This is achievable.” Couple that with the radicalization of the Democratic Party over the last several years, and I thought, “This is a really important endeavor to pursue, to point out their radicalization and to hold them accountable for their viewpoints,” which I have felt that the mainstream media has failed to do consistently over the years, but in particular with this group of candidates.
DW: You’re asking for donations, but you also presumably had to follow through with other aspects of a political run. Can you break down what you’ve had to do in order to get into the race?
AMI: Yeah. For the moment, the goal is to get on the debate stage, which we’re looking to pursue through the 65,000 donation threshold. We are now formulating a real team, but that team hasn’t fully launched. So, it’s really more of an air campaign versus a ground campaign at this point in order to get the qualification. If we qualify and get on the debate stage, the game changes, and we can move on to phase two. Phase one is primarily just an air game to try to get those supporters.
DW: If you succeed in reaching the 65,000 donors threshold, are you confident that you could get on the stage, as they plan to limit the debates to 20 candidates?
AMI: I’m pretty confident. I don’t want to get into the sort of inside baseball on the qualification process because it’s actually kind of complicated once you have more than 20 people who have qualified, which they don’t at this point. There’s not much time left. But yeah, I think that when it comes down to the donor base itself and it becomes a horse race on how many donors you have beyond 65,000 – which is one of the ways it’s going to take to qualify – I feel confident that we could beat out people like Marianne Williamson, and Seth Moulton, and other guys who came in late and haven’t really been lighting the world on fire when it comes to the actual individual donors.
It’s going to be hard to poll, and I don’t think they’re going to have 20 people who poll at one percent on three different recognized polls, so if they don’t, which I suspect they will not, then it will become a horse race on the donors.
DW: Are there some people who are pissed about your run?
AMI: I know they’re already pissed. Without giving out too much information at this point, I know that we are already making people nervous at the DNC.
DW: What do you expect is going to happen if you hit that 65,000 threshold? Do you think they’re going to attempt to manipulate the rules?
AMI: Well, they’re in a box, and the box is this – they either put me on the stage where I then speak truth to power, which I think they find to be very uncomfortable, or they have to go against everything they have professed to believe in for this particular race, which is inclusivity and openness, and to move away from the mistakes they made with the backroom deals to get Hillary the nomination as opposed to Bernie Sanders.
They would have to change the rules midstream, which they swore up and down they wouldn’t do, and in the process, they would end up screwing other people who are trying to qualify the same way that I am. I’m not the only person who’s going to try to qualify at 65,000 and not be able to poll, so they would be in a significant box, and I do not envy them.
DW: Assuming you get on the debate stage, what is the plan going forward?
AMI: It’s about making that debate stage a very unsafe place for them. Look, they are used to people not holding them accountable for their views; they’re used to the media not asking them tough questions on some of their insane policies – and I use that word kind of flippantly, but I really believe that a lot of these policies are insane. I think they’re going to be in a place where they have to defend the positions they’re taking that are way out of the mainstream – and I don’t just mean the mainstream among Republicans and independents. I think they’re outside the mainstream among Democrats.
I think if you poll the Democratic electorate (not Democratic primary voters or Democratic leadership), and ask them if they believe in capitalism versus socialism, overwhelmingly you’re gonna hear people say “capitalism.” If you ask Democratic voters if they believe in late-term abortion, I think a majority of them would say that they do not. If you ask Democratic voters if they believe in open borders, a majority of them would say that they do not. I think if you look at the electorate in general, the candidates are so outside the mainstream.
DW: What do you think has driven them so far out of the mainstream?
AMI: It’s a great question. I think that the Democratic Party has been moving inexorably over the last decade or so – really more than that – to the Left. The shift to the Left over the past two years has been supercharged, I think, primarily driven by people like AOC, and Rashida Tlaib, and Ilhan Omar. I think the leftist Young Turks who had been vocal and recently elected have been driving this process even further to the Left over a faster period of time. As a result, I think the candidates are all trying to play catch-up; they are all trying to out-woke each other; and that is to the great detriment, not only of the country but of the Democratic Party itself.
DW: What’s been the response to your candidacy from the Right?
AMI: It’s impossible for me to know the politics of the people who are donating, but I think this is actually awakening the imagination of people from the Right, the Left, and the center. I’m guessing people on the far-Left are not particularly fond of my candidacy. I think left-of-center people, independent, and right-of-center people are excited about this. The people who should be most excited about this, by the way, are the networks who are carrying the debate. I mean, if I get on that debate stage, I guarantee you that I will double their ratings. I think they’re really excited about having a guy like me out there.
From the testimonials we’ve been getting from people on Twitter and on Facebook and Instagram, all those social media sites, they are excited about someone like me jumping in this campaign. I’m a different kind of candidate. I’m not a politician. I think we saw that there’s an appetite for non-politicians since Donald Trump is our president. I think people are excited about it.
DW: Let’s say you get on the debate stage, you kill it, and you begin actually polling with decent numbers. Does this transform from a stunt designed to awaken people to a real campaign?
AMI: Game on. I mean, we’ll take this all the way to the convention, no doubt about it. We will be a thorn in their side, and we will be pushing them to be honest and truthful about where they stand throughout the entire process. I’m not saying that I’m the hands-on favorite to win the nomination, although stranger things have happened, but yeah, we’ll be there as long as we have the polling and the funding. We have a team, and we will be pushing, we will be expanding, and we will continue to hold these guys accountable.
DW: Describe yourself politically. Where do you fall on the political spectrum?
AMI: Ideologically speaking, I do move around the spectrum a little bit. I’m an issue guy, and I’m certainly a country over party guy. So, I’m not interested in holding myself to a particular party, but I would say I’m definitely right-of-center, no question about that, but there are things that I go kind of left-of-center on, things that I go dead-center on, and things I go maybe a little more than right-of-center on. So, it depends on the particular issue, but I would say that overall, my ideology is right-of-center.
DW: Are you able to give an update on the donations?
AMI: We are well above 10% of what we need. I think we’re somewhere around the 15% range of what we need. We haven’t done the big-gun media quite yet, which we’ll be doing in a couple of weeks. We’re definitely in a position to close the deal. I mean, think about it. It’s one dollar to see the greatest show on earth. Talk about must-see-TV. Have me up there throwing an intellectual hand grenade in the middle of the stage.